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Close-cropped view of a person on a stationary bike with a digital display and a television monitor with a fitness trainer in the background



Home gyms are the new way of the fitness world, and with seasonal gifting and energizing new-year commitments, many of us are investing in new and better equipment. Today, that means considering monthly subscription costs. Unless you’re simply stocking up on some good, old-fashioned dumbbells, you’re probably going to run into regular recurring costs with your fitness purchases. Whether it’s an app or a stationary bike or rowing machine with a digital training platform, almost everything comes with a subscription these days. Here are some helpful thoughts and questions to consider before you lock yourself in to paying monthly fees for your home gym.

Little Costs Add Up

Breaking down big costs into monthly fees is a brilliant business strategy to make purchases more palatable to the customer. But when we’re the customer, we need to pay special attention to those recurring costs because they really do add up over time.

What kind of costs are we talking about? Let’s say we plan to invest in our new stationary bike fitness plan for a minimum of three years. Peloton’s monthly All-Access Membership, for instance, comes in at $39.99 per month. Doing the math, we’re looking at roughly $480 per year, or $1,440 over three years – which is roughly equivalent to the cost of the base bike itself. Apps alone range from monthly subscription fees around $6.99 for a basic option like JEFIT to $14.99 for audio-based Aaptiv and up to $39 per month for the comprehensive workout app iFIT.

When Hardware Commits You to Software

Monthly subscriptions are nothing new – but what is new are business strategies that tie usage of workout equipment (like a Peloton bike or the super-cool Hydrow rower) to a monthly paid membership program. In order to use the hardware the way it’s intended – or, in some cases, to use it at all – you need to be paying those monthly fees. So as long as you want to keep that rower or stationary bike, the company keeps making money off you as a customer. On the bright side, it also means you get access to regularly added new content that keeps the workout experience fresh.

Is Your Commitment Stronger Than Your Excitement?

Especially when it comes to our workout routines, new and shiny counts for something. If we’re excited about a piece of equipment, that energy goes a long way toward encouraging us to show up every day. And let’s not forget: Showing up is the goal! It can be a wonderful, valuable thing to energize your routine with new equipment or any kind of investment. Still, an important question to ask before you buy is: How committed am I? How long do I intend to use it? How sure am I that I will keep using it for a long time? Maybe you stick to paying for your app monthly, so you can cancel as soon as you’re not feeling it anymore, or maybe you opt for a non-subscription-based spin bike, so those recurring costs aren’t still dinging you long after the honeymoon phase is over.

One Direction Vs. Mixing It Up

Saying yes to one thing means saying no to another, and when you’re looking at a monthly fitness budget, you want to put your money where you get the most value. No one wants to pay for something and get nothing in return, but that’s exactly what we’re looking at if we’re paying monthly fees for equipment we aren’t using regularly. Not only are we not getting the benefit of the equipment we do have, but we’re probably discouraged from putting money elsewhere, even though a different investment could actually do some good. Bottom line: If you’re someone who likes to mix up the routine, try new things every couple of months, and train for different goals – then a big-time commitment like a Peloton bike might not be the best option. On the other hand, if you’re committed to spin classes as your primary form of exercise, it could be the perfect addition to your training.

However you do it, we hope you enjoy an active holiday season and a great start to the new year! For more articles on health and fitness, check out The Hawthorne blog.